As rideshare companies like Uber have become widespread in the last few years, the number of auto accidents involving Uber vehicles and drivers has also increased. Uber is a company that has become particularly popular in largely populated cities such as Atlanta, including surrounding suburban areas like Smyrna, Marietta, Dunwoody, and Alpharetta. If you were recently injured in an auto accident involving an Uber, you should know what your legal options are. As an injured victim, you should understand whose auto insurance will apply if you were a passenger in the Uber at the time of the accident, another driver who was struck by the Uber, or the Uber driver. These types of auto accidents are not very different from other types of auto accidents, nonetheless, it is important to follow the state’s laws when it comes to filing a claim and holding the liable party responsible for the damages caused.
Can Uber Be Held Responsible For the Accident?
A primary concern accident victims have after suffering an accident with a rideshare company is whether the rideshare company can be held responsible for the accident. People who drive for Uber are considered independent contractors; therefore, Uber is not usually held legally responsible for the reckless behaviors of rideshare drivers. With that said, there are cases where there is an opportunity to raise a case against the company for liability. This is often referred to as imputed or vicarious liability. Also, most rideshare companies require users to enter into an agreement that any dispute must be resolved in arbitration, thus depriving rideshare riders a trial by jury in the event of an accident.
Fortunately, although Uber itself cannot be held accountable for the negligence of drivers, the company does have a $1,000,000 insurance coverage policy available for their drivers. In comparison, most taxi companies have only a $25,000 insurance coverage policy for their drivers. Upon a catastrophic accident, receiving a higher damages award from Uber is more likely than receiving one from a taxi company.
Receiving Compensation as an Uber Passenger
When an Uber driver is operating his or her vehicle without activating the driving mode of the app, Uber’s insurance coverage cannot be used in the event of an accident. In this scenario, the Uber driver’s personal insurance coverage must be used to pay for the expenses resulting from the accident. Also, if the Uber driver has activated the app but has not yet picked up the passenger, the company’s insurance coverage can be used in the event of an accident, however, the coverage limits may be lessened.
When an Uber driver is transporting a person at the time of the accident, the company’s full insurance coverage can be applied. Whether the injured victim is a passenger of the Uber or is the driver of another vehicle, the victim should not have to worry about paying for medical expenses out-of-pocket. Instead, the company’s insurance policy can cover mounting medical costs when the accident was caused by the fault of the Uber driver.
Receiving Compensation as an Uber Driver
In the State of Georgia, only workers who are considered employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured while at work. As Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, they are disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while at work. This being said, injured Uber drivers are not completely barred from receiving compensation after an accident. Instead of receiving workers’ compensation benefits, other options may be available.
Rideshare drivers who are employed by Uber have the option of filing a claim under the company’s Driver Injury Protection policy. Uber’s Driver Injury Protection policy provides coverage for medical costs and other accident-related expenses. If an Uber driver opts out of this coverage, he or she must then rely on his or her personal auto insurance coverage for any form of compensation.
Georgia’s Statute of Limitations & Comparative Fault Rule
The State of Georgia has a 2 year statute of limitations and also follows the modified comparative negligence rule, meaning, all drivers involved in the accident could bear responsibility for causing the accident. Even if the injured plaintiff seeking compensation was struck by the Uber driver, the plaintiff may face partial liability if the court finds him or her partially responsible for causing the accident. Depending on the percentage found at fault, the plaintiff’s monetary damages award will be reduced. If the plaintiff’s percentage of fault has been determined to be more than 50 percent, the plaintiff will be barred from receiving any monetary damages.
Obtain Experienced Legal Representation After an Uber Accident
After you have been injured in an auto accident involving an Uber, there are many questions you will have regarding the compensation you are owed for your injuries and losses. The answers to these questions will depend on a number of factors, including the party responsible for the accident and whether the accident occurred while you were a passenger in the rideshare service or if the accident happened while you were in your vehicle. Find a personal injury lawyer on lawsuit.com and talk to a qualified auto accident attorney who can help answer these questions, ensure the party responsible for the accident is held accountable, and advocate for your right to the highest compensation available.